Move over women's soccer. Canada's best chance for a medal in a team sport at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics is women's sevens rugby, in which the Canadian team is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.
The national side will gather in Langford and Shawnigan Lake beginning Monday for a selection and training camp ahead of the Dubai sevens tournament, which opens Nov. 30.
Canada is the defending champion from Dubai 2011 and has been drawn into a pool with China, Russia and New Zealand this year.
"Like last year, our goal is to make the final," said head coach John Tait, who is based at the Rugby Canada Centre of Excellence in Langford.
Ten of the 23 players invited to the camp reside permanently in Greater Victoria with several others expected also to relocate to be near the Centre of Excellence.
The inclusion of rugby sevens into the Summer Olympics, beginning at Rio 2016, has changed everything for the sport.
Own the Podium federal funding for Olympic athletes is largely based on medal potential and so the Canadian rugby sevens female program is a hot brand at the moment.
"We've gone from the pay-to-play model to where the [national-team program] players are supported in their training and can prepare properly," said Tait.
Meanwhile, the Lang-ford-based world No. 12 Canadian men's team has been drawn into a pool for the upcoming Dubai sevens with France, Australia and the United States.
Both men's and women's Canadian rosters for Dubai will be announced next week.
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